A Year In Review from News Of The Area Reporter Alice Hennen Opinion by News Of The Area - Modern Media - December 28, 2021 SO, this is Christmas. And what have we done? Another year over, a new one just begun. As we wrap up another year, it’s worthwhile to look back on where we’ve been and set goals for the new year ahead. The year just seems to have flown by, especially with the chaos and uncertainty of the ever-present COVID-19 pandemic, lockdown 2.0 and the emergence of the Omicron strain. Nevertheless, the recurrence of Christmas is often a joyful experience people look forward to, and this year, we need it now more than ever. In the words of Charles Dickens, the man who more or less invented the Victorian Christmas, “But I am sure that I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round…as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely.” My name is Alice Hennen and I am a contributor reporter for both Port Stephens and Myall Coast News Of The Area. I started writing for this publication in March of this year, after seeing an advertisement for contributors in the paper. My career in journalism has been a sporadic yet enjoyable one, having written previously for Newcastle Weekly and The Star. My favourite stories to write are those about community events that just need that extra signal boost. The little wins, the community jumble sales, the little things we sometimes don’t notice but make up the fabric and the good vibes of the neighbourhood. The community issues that need attention brought to them. Those whose voices often go unheard. I recently covered the proposed deer cull in Raymond Terrace, where fierce debate is underway over whether the deer are icons of the local area or whether they are pests that need to be eradicated. There were many good points made by both sides of the argument, and certainly a situation to keep an eye on. It was an intensely interesting piece to write, and hopefully an interesting piece to read. While Christmas can be a time of joy and excitement, even more so this year, it can also be a time of struggle and loneliness, particularly for those who don’t have family or who cannot see their family. Lifeline is available 24/7, 365 days a year on 13 11 14 for immediate crisis support. Have a Merry Christmas, and see you all in the New Year.